Liven up your cookie bucket list with these thick and chewy old-fashioned Coconut Cookies. They’re simple to make and scrumptious. Get ready to go (coco)-nutty.
A crispy initial bite lures you into a chewy, buttery interior that then surprises and delights you with its coconutty goodness and “why can’t I stop eating these?” texture.
These coconut cookies are simple to make at home, a fun alternative to your go-to cookie recipes, and on the healthier side (for cookies anyway).
If you think it’s nuts to love coconuts, I beg you to reconsider.
While you might think coconut should be reserved for tiki bars, it’s a fabulous ingredient to add to desserts for a sweet, nutty flavor, and bewitching texture.
Since over the top is never enough around here, these coconut cookies use it three ways: flaked coconut, coconut sugar, and coconut oil.
Ways to Use Coconut
In addition to cookies, coconut makes an excellent mix-in for granolas and healthy snacks.
If you find yourself with a lot of shredded coconut that you aren’t sure how to finish off, here’s what you could make:
How to Make Coconut Cookies
Whip up some coconut delightfulness with just one mixing bowl, and then watch everyone in your house run to the kitchen when they smell them baking!
- Coconut Oil. The first hit of coconut! You can also swap unsalted butter. Virgin (unrefined) coconut oil has a pleasant, coconutty, tropical flavor, so use it here for the most coconut flavor. Refined coconut oil has a more neutral flavor.
- Greek Yogurt. Lightens these cookies by replacing some of the fat.
- Coconut Sugar. Also called coconut palm sugar, it has a mild, slightly nutty flavor, is low on the glycemic index, and sweetens these cookies more naturally.
- Fresh Lemon Zest. Fresh lemon zest is a bright compliment to the coconut flavor. Optional, but I recommend for the added complexity!
- Vanilla Extract. No imitation stuff allowed, please. You can really taste it in cookies, so the pure vanilla is worth it.
- White Whole Wheat Flour. Another favorite trick of mine that adds a little more nutrients into baked goods is to use white whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour. This flour mixture gives you more protein and fiber.
- Flaked Coconut. Coconut flakes are a larger version of shredded coconut; instead of being grated, coconut is cut into larger flakes that are then dried. Opting for flakes instead of shredded coconut is a texture difference and makes the coconut more pronounced.
- Cream coconut oil (or butter), Greek yogurt, and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla, then beat in baking soda and salt.
- Mix in flours.
- Stir in coconut. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Bake coconut cookies 8 to 9 minutes at 350 degrees F until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack. ENJOY!
- To Store. Store leftover coconut cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week (as if they’ll last that long!).
- To Freeze. Place baked cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then transfer to room temperature.
Meal Prep Tip
Freshly mixed dough should be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before baking, but you can keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days prior to baking in an airtight container. It’s a great way to prep your holiday baking extravaganza.
You can portion and freeze cookie dough and have freshly-baked cookies on demand! After making your dough, scoop into balls and lay on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes so the balls don’t stick together. Then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container and keep in the freezer for a rainy day.
Dough balls can be cooked directly from frozen; just add a few minutes to the called-for baking time. For best results, use frozen dough within 3 months.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. These are my favorite and last forever.
- Silicone Baking Mats. Keep cookies from sticking to the baking sheet.
- Cookie Scoop. Same-sized cookies means evenly-baked cookies.
Let’s celebrate coconut beyond the islands with coconut cookies!
Frequently Asked Questions
Desiccated coconut has a finer texture than dried, shredded coconut. Think of it like finely grated cheese versus grated cheese.
I think chocolate would be a lovely addition to these coconut cookies (I mean, how could it hurt?). You could add a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or chunks as an additional mix-in.
While both are delightful coconutty desserts, they are very different! Coconut macaroons are meringue-like whereas coconut cookies are comparable to a sugar cookie with coconut mixed in. Macaroons are made with sweetened shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped egg whites.
- 5 tablespoons virgin (unrefined) coconut oil* or unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar or substitute light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- Zest of 1 small lemon optional
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or additional all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut sweetened
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the coconut oil (or butter), Greek yogurt, coconut sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 4 full minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add egg, lemon zest (if using), and vanilla. Beat until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. The mixture will look curdled, but do not fret. Beat in the baking soda and salt until combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the all purpose flour and white whole wheat flour, mixing just until it disappears. The dough will look crumbly.
- By hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the coconut. For the best flavor and to make sure the cookies are not too dry, refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- When ready to bake, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. With a cookie scoop or spoon, portion the cookies by heaping tablespoons, spacing them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, until barely dry on the top and edges but still soft inside. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then gently transfer to a cooling rack. (I like to slide my piece of parchment or silicone baking mat right off the baking sheet and onto the cooling rack.) Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- *The coconut oil needs to be in a solid room-temperature state (like this), not already liquified.
- TO STORE: Store leftover cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week (as if they’ll last that long!).
- TO FREEZE: Place baked cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then transfer to room temperature. Or portion and freeze the dough; bake from frozen, adding to baking time as needed.
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